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Newbery Award winners are great books

By Dara L. Cain
Rowan Public Library
The suspense and excitement leading up to the announcement of the winner of the Newbery Award came to fruition on Jan. 26.
“The Graveyard Book,” by author Neil Gaiman, was chosen by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association, as the 2009 Newbery Medal award winner for providing the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children published in the previous year.
The “contribution to American literature” refers to the text of a book for which all forms of writing shall be considered and for which children up to age 14 are the potential audience. “Distinguished” is defined as a book noted for significant achievement encompassing excellence in quality and individual distinctness.
The Newbery Medal became the first children’s book award in the world and was named for the 18th-century English bookseller John Newbery. The criteria the ALSC committee members took into account when deciding to select “The Graveyard Book” included interpretation of the concept, presentation of information, development of plot, delineation of characters, description of setting and the appropriateness of style.
“The Graveyard Book” is about an orphaned child named Nobody Owens, otherwise known as Bod to his friends. Bod lives an extraordinary life as he grows up to become a teenager while living in a graveyard where he is raised and educated by ghostly residents who have adopted him.
If you enjoy adventure, danger and the supernatural, this is the book for you. Neil Gaiman made the New York Times bestseller list for the children’s book “Coraline.” He also wrote the picture books “The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish” and “The Wolves in the Walls.”
Honor books are runners-up to the Newbery Medal books. This year four diverse honor books were selected. “The Underneath,” by Kathi Appelt is about the unlikely friendship between a calico cat and a hound who ultimately become a family. This book is recommended for fans who have enjoyed reading “Sounder,” “Shiloh” and/or “The Yearling.”
In the book “Savvy,” by Ingrid Law, it is the eve of Mibs’ big day when she will turn 13 and discover her “savvy” ó a special supernatural power. To find out if Mibs’ new power can save her father, you will have to read the story.
“The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom,” by Margarita Engle, creates a lyrical description of 1896 Cuba during its struggle to fight for independence after having already fought in three wars.
Jacqueline Woodson’s book “After Tupac & D Foster” takes place in 1996 where three girls living in Queens, N.Y., bond over their mutual love of Tupac Shakur’s music and the unreliable world they live in.
To obtain a complete listing of Newbery Medal winners, honor winners, and other literary award winners, visit the American Library Association Web site at http://www.ala.org.
Computer classes: Classes are free. Sessions are 90 minutes long. Class size is limited and on a first-come, first-serve basis. Dates and times are subject to change without notice.
Headquarters ó Monday, 7 p.m., Introduction to Free Library Resources; Thursday, 2:30 p.m., Introduction to Internet Searching; Feb. 16, 7 p.m., Digital Photos 101 with Paint.net; Feb. 19, 2:30 p.m, Introduction to Free Library Resources.
South ó Monday, 7 p.m., Basic Excel; Feb. 23, 7 p.m. Intermediate Excel.
Children’s Storytime: February-April, weekly story time. For more information, call 704-216-8234.
Headquarters ó Monday or Wednesday, 11 a.m., Tiny Tots and Moms (infants-18 months); Tuesday, 10 a.m., Toddlers and Kinfolks (18-24 months), and 11 a.m., Toddlers and Kinfolks (24-36 months); Thursday, 10:30 a.m., Three through Five; 4 p.m., Noodlehead (4-8 years).
South ó Monday, 10:30 a.m., Preschool Time (3-5 years), 4 p.m. Noodlehead (4-8 years); Wednesday, 10:30 a.m., Toddlers and Twos (12-36 months); Thursday, 10:30 a.m., Baby Time (0-12 months).
East ó Tuesday or Wednesday, 10:30 a.m., Preschool (2-5 years); Thursday, 11 a.m., Baby Time (6 months-2 years).
Teen program: Headquarters, Feb. 23, 5:30-7 p.m.; South, Feb. 17, 3:30-5 p.m.; East, Feb. 19, 5:30-7 p.m. Come to Rowan Public Library for a chocolate extravaganza. Learn how to melt and make decorated chocolate lollipops, hand dip some of your favorite foods in chocolate and compete in chocolate trivia.
Tuesday Night at the Movies: All movies are at 6:30 p.m. All movies are rated G, PG or PG 13; some movies are inappropriate for younger audiences. Children should be accompanied by an adult. Free popcorn and lemonade.
Black History Month ó all movies feature predominantly African-American casts.
Tuesday, “Uptown Saturday Night”; Feb. 17, “Let’s Do It Again”; Feb. 25, “A Piece of the Action.” All movies feature Sidney Poitier and Bill Cosby.
Displays: Headquarters ó Rowan Doll Society by Bonnie Hodges and artwork by Fred Young; South ó Southern Piedmont Wood Turners by Barry Russell; East ó scrapbooking by Stacey Shaver.Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.
Web site: For a listing of all library programs at all library locations, www.rowanpubliclibrary.org.

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